Department of the Premier 2014 Budget Vote Speech | Western Cape Government

Speeches

Department of the Premier 2014 Budget Vote Speech

24 March 2014

Honourable Speaker,
Cabinet Members,
Leader of the Opposition,
Leaders of political parties,
Honourable members,
Director-General,
Colleagues and friends,
Citizens of the Western Cape.

Speaker, it is my great pleasure to present the 2014/2015 budget vote for the Department of the Premier.

I would like to thank the Director-General and his team for their hard work in finalising our budget for the upcoming financial year and for their ongoing efforts in managing and improving the machinery of the administration to move us closer to becoming the best-run regional government in the world.

While the work of the Premier's Department is concerned with internal coordination, unlike the delivery departments, it is crucial to the work of government as a whole: the department performs the function of providing the means and improving the opportunities for delivery departments to operate optimally so that those departments in turn can improve opportunities for residents in the province to improve their lives.

This being my last speech for a budget vote in the current term of government, it is appropriate to take a moment to reflect on the 5-year road we have travelled. When we came into office in May 2009 we discovered a tendency for departments to work in "silos" – with insufficient coordination between them. This was compounded by a lack of policy coherence across government. Very often, departments were singing off different hymn sheets. We have managed to shift that modus operandi to greater strategic alignment.

I am pleased to say that the framework we set up to achieve this has, after initial teething problems, become an effective "nerve centre" for the Western Cape Government. Through Transversal Management, sector committees, work groups and other mechanisms, we have been getting better at making sure that different parts of government complement each other in achieving the same goals and that we phase out those structures and processes that do not meaningfully contribute to our policy objectives. I would like to thank my Strategic Advisers, Ryan Coetzee, for the key insights and concepts, and Hector Eliott, for being the steady hand on that tiller subsequently.

The value-add of the department is seen in the increase in demand for its services, most notably in the areas of policy interventions and corporate services, among other indicators. In the area of people management, it became necessary to increase the number of employees in Corporate Services Centre service departments by 19.5 per cent between 2011 and 2013. The department received an unqualified audit report for the 2012/13 financial year with two matters.  Furthermore the percentage of under-spending for the year was reduced to 0.11 per cent compared to the previous year (0.23 per cent in 2011/12).

The findings of the Management Performance Assessment Tool (MPAT) in the Presidency's Department of Monitoring and Evaluation provide another indicator of performance because the Department of the Premier plays a leading role in, or actually provides, the services measured. According to the final moderated results of the 2012/13 MPAT cycle as presented to National Cabinet, the Western Cape is the best performing Province.

In terms of Key Performance Area (KPA) 1: Strategic Management, the Western Cape recorded the highest percentage of standards among all departments provincially and nationally that had a rating of 4 for this KPA (meaning they do things smartly) with 95 per cent of all standards rated as fully compliant. Further:

  • The Western Cape had the highest percentage of standards on a Level 4 for KPA 2: Governance and Accountability with 70 per cent of standards rated as fully compliant.
  • The Western Cape had the highest percentage of standards on Level 4 for KPA 3: Human Resource and System Management with 55 per cent of all standards rated as fully compliant.
  • The Western Cape had the highest percentage (81 per cent) of standards across all departments that were assessed as fully compliant on Level 4 for KPA 4: Financial Management.

 Speaker, as pleased as we are with these results, we also need to avoid complacency and be honest about identified areas for improvement. We have good machinery and it can work even better as we make progress in those areas. Key projects that the department will seek to implement going forward are:

  • The establishment of a Monitoring and Evaluation capacity in the department, distinct from the transversal role performed by the Chief Directorate: Strategic Management Information.
  • The deepening of Enterprise Risk Management practices to the sub-programme level.
  • The capacitation of the Legal Compliance Unit to improve compliance with legislation.

I am confident that the budget I am presenting today will enable us to make the necessary progress in this regard.

Speaker, the department's budget for the 2014/15 financial year is R 1 027 754 000, which is a 13.8% increase compared to the 2013/14 adjusted budget. The increase will support a much-needed capacity boost in order to meet the expanded demand on the department’s services and enable the five programmes to enhance their transversal impact which ultimately influences different outcomes, from annual audits to service delivery efficiency.

Programme One: Executive Support

To carry out its mandate of providing executive governance support services to the Executive and Director-General, Programme One: Executive Support receives R71.7-million – a small increase of 2.3% from 2013/14. 

A key highlight of our administration in relation to the Executive is the introduction of our Ministerial Handbook which curbs wasteful and excessive expenditure. In light of the current public and media focus on excessive expenditure on President Zuma’s private home in Nkandla, the relevance of our approach is made more salient.

Looking ahead to the new financial year, this programme will continue with the roll-out of a training and awareness programme to forefront occupational health and safety in the workplace. Statutory planning and reporting documents such as the annual performance plan, performance monitoring reports and the annual report will be produced as part of the department’s responsibility to account to the public and oversight bodies for its performance.

Programme Two: Provincial Strategic Management

Programme Two, Provincial Strategic Management, has been allocated R84.6 million for 2014/2015 (a R32.1-million increase) and has been the site of truly exciting projects that contribute significantly to the progress we aim to achieve.

It has continued to facilitate the coordination and alignment of provincial departments through effective transversal management. This comprises content and secretarial support to the three Sector Committees, the eleven Steering Groups and forty Working Groups.

The following priority projects were supported:

  • Our green economy initiative.
  • 2014 World Design Capital.
  • A review of the Integrated Events Strategy, adopted by Cabinet in 2011, to ensure synergy with the national and city strategies.
  • Event-related research and impact studies.
  • Area-based initiatives responding to communities in distress.

A number of transversal policies and strategies were developed by the Policy and Strategy, in collaboration with stakeholders. These included the Integrated Violence Prevention Policy Framework, a Disability Rights Strategy and a Food Security Strategy. I would like to draw specific attention to two important strategies that have been produced under this programme:

  • First, the International Relations Strategy: While the International Relations Directorate undertakes the task of managing active engagements with the international community and key stakeholders in regional and global networks, this strategy helps to refine those engagements by rooting them in our provincial strategic objectives so that our international agreements and activities support the growth of the economy, the promotion of social inclusion and the building of a green economy to drive sustainable development.
  • Second, a Youth Development Strategy: We are all deeply mindful of the social ills and other challenges that face young people in some of our poor communities. Between substance abuse and addiction, vulnerability to sexual and other assault and limited economic opportunities to pursue career growth. It can seem like many disadvantaged youth face a brick wall over which they cannot climb to build productive lives that they can value.
  • This Youth Development Strategy outlines a conceptual and operational framework in which the roles and responsibilities of all social partners – particularly government, communities and families – are identified, so that they can create and expand opportunities for youth development and create doors in those brick walls, facing many young people which they can walk through to a brighter future. I will be launching the Youth Development Strategy next month to outline its analysis and key policy and action points.

Two special projects that were also undertaken, in collaboration with other partners, are:

  • Our Behaviour Change project, under which pilot projects are designed and implemented that seek to influence two important shifts in communities: firstly, against irresponsible and harmful behaviour that contributes to the burden of disease and injuries or fatalities in the Western Cape. Our radio ad campaign against the phenomenon of "sugar daddies" that started a few weeks ago is one example. Secondly, this project aims to encourage and reinforce new norms that promote responsible and productive behaviour, especially among young people, in order to help them a sure foundation for a successful future in which they use their opportunities properly.
  • Our Whole-of-Society project has included engagements with the Safety Lab, Economic Development Partnership (EDP), Cape Higher Education Consortium (CHEC) and the Hout Bay Partnership to help us identify opportunities to implement our "Better Together" approach in more tangible ways that create opportunities for increased co-responsibility.

During the 2014/15 financial year the Sub-programme: Strategic Management Information will lead the development of Results-based Monitoring and Evaluation (RBM&E) for the provisioning of accurate data and information within the Province-wide Monitoring and Evaluation System.

Strategic Communication will continue with the co-ordination of external communication in order to ensure that the Western Cape Government effectively communicates with the people of the province.

Crucially, as 2014 marks 20 years since the first democratic elections in our country, the Chief Directorate: Strategic Programmes of this programme, in collaboration with various stakeholders, will coordinate all the commemorative days and link them to the theme of 20 years of Democracy and Freedom.

Programme Three: People Management

Speaker, Programme Three: People Management (formerly Human Capital) is allocated R179.4-million to fulfil its mandate as one pillar of the Corporate Services Centre (CSC). The CSC is at the heart of our drive to build the best-run regional government in the world because an organisation’s success or failure comes down to the people who staff it and the equipment and management they have to support them. That is why this programme’s core functions of organisational development, people management practices and people training and empowerment are essential.

Two flagship projects to highlight are the Business Process Optimisation (BPO) project, initiated with a focus on improving the efficiency of the provincial government in delivering services to the citizen, and the introduction of the Integrated Financial Management System (IFMS). The further roll-out and implementation of the latter however remains dependent on national lead departments such as National Treasury, providing the necessary platforms for national coordination.

In the past year, competency assessments were carried out for senior and middle management across various occupations, so as to evaluate the fit of personnel to their posts and identify development areas. A Barrett Survey was also conducted transversally for all 13 Departments during July to August 2013 to map the values of employees in the government and provide information to guide improved people management practices. Training interventions to improve the capacity of line managers to deal with labour issues are taking place on a continuous basis and the "Progressive Discipline" training sessions for line managers capacitates line managers in the management of their employees.

The Provincial Training Institute (PTI) has designed and delivered courses for 43 different human capital development programmes, incorporating e-learning systems. A monitoring, evaluation and reporting model has been developed and piloted in order to measure the impact of six training interventions. This process has been automated by procuring the relevant licences through the State Information Technology Agency (SITA) from a service provider which enables the PTI to perform this process itself instead of outsourcing it.

Various Human Resources Oversight reports were completed for departments whilst consultations were concluded on both the Human Resources and Employment Equity plans, all of which were timeously submitted to the relevant legislated authorities. Speaker, as we should all be aware, the national Minister of Labour, Mildred Oliphant, introduced draft regulations for the amended Employment Equity Act which have raised serious concerns for us as the Western Cape Government. The regulations specify how an employer’s compliance with employment equity should be determined.

If these draft regulations are implemented as they currently stand, they would have a profound impact on employment in the Western Cape where provincial demographics are very different from the national figures. As I announced earlier this month, we have requested a legal opinion on whether certain sections of the Employment Equity Act and these draft regulations are lawful and constitutional. Once we have received this legal opinion, we will announce further steps that we plan to take.

It goes without saying that we are committed to achieving equitable representation in the Western Cape Government and indeed are doing so in large part. We believe that the way to achieve the constitution's requirement for the public service to be broadly representative is through providing opportunities for learning and skills development so that personnel can progress through a pipeline of promotion on the basis of talent, hard work and the value they contribute to the organisation. This approach will result in the achievement of equity and excellence.

Speaker, our efforts to ensure that we have the right systems and processes in place are paying off in various ways. The Western Cape Government continues to be the only province where 100 per cent of Senior Managers submit their financial disclosure documentation by the due date to the Public Service Commission. The introduction of the IFMS will make other human resources processes, such as administration of leave, more efficient by converting it to be entirely paperless. Given that 48% of the department’s budget is spent on personnel, we must strive to achieve optimal outcomes from that asset in order to ensure value-for-money.

Programme Four: Centre for e-Innovation (CeI)

Programme Four is the Centre for e-Innovation, which is responsible for the implementation of the Provincial ICT Delivery Plan and the IT Service Delivery Improvement Plan and is allocated R576.7-million for 2014/15, an increase of 9.9% from the previous year.

The Centre for e-Innovation (Ce-I) has made steady progress in terms of the IT Services Modernisation initiative, as shown by an improved IT Governance Maturity rating, improved service levels and improved user perceptions of the services provided by the Ce-I. It does however remain a concern that the CeI may get oversubscribed in future due to demand for ICT Services continuing to grow as the ICT user base expands and the number of service delivery sites increased.

The Ce-I is now reaching the final stages of the Microsoft migration project and is focusing on implementing software migration in rural areas, as part of the Western Cape Government Broadband Strategy and Implementation Plan. This Strategy and Plan aims to co-ordinate government action to improve the provision of telecommunication infrastructure and enable user skills in the province. Stream 1 of this Plan, "Connecting WCG buildings" (including schools) will ensure broadband connectivity to all Western Cape Government sites.

The installation and completion of this infrastructure will enable the Ce-I to play its role better in providing IT solutions to departments. In 2013/14, the Ce-I supported our user base of over 20 000 corporate workstations. It also supported a substantial user base in more than 1 400 schools of more than 46 000 workstations.

Additionally, significant progress was made with implementation in the following areas:

  • A uniform e-filing system in the provincial government with a focus on the consolidation of software licenses, central support and maintenance.
  • A Memorandum of Understanding/Service Level Agreement was signed with the City of Cape Town to ensure collaboration in broadband resulting in 23 sites being connected to date.
  • Broadband to additional priority sites was implemented.
  • The IT Disaster Recovery Plan is currently being implemented.
  • An average network and system uptime and availability of 99 per cent were maintained.

In terms of the Ce-I's external facing services, the channels available to citizens to access government information and services were enhanced. Channels such as the Internet Portal, Walk-in Centre, E-mail Channel and the Call Centre were upgraded to improve citizens’ interaction with government information and services via electronic means. The ICT infrastructure of the e-Community centres in rural areas were also enhanced, with a further seven Cape Access Centres coming on-stream.

Speaker, improving e-Government in the Western Cape is one of the key elements of our Provincial Strategic Objective to build the best-run regional government in the world. It improves our organisational efficiency and effectiveness, makes our information and services more accessible and exemplifies best practice. We cannot afford to be left behind as the rest of the world moves forward to build ever more complex knowledge economies. Our investment in our IT-based systems is nothing less than an investment in strategic infrastructure.

Programme Five: Corporate Assurance

Programme Five: Corporate Assurance is another key component of our Corporate Service Centre, and includes Enterprise Risk Management, the Forensic Investigative Unit (FIU), Internal Audit, Legal Services and Corporate Communications.

The budget for Corporate Assurance for the coming financial year is R115.1-million, an increase of almost 18% from the previous financial year. This is necessary because Corporate Assurance experienced a significant increase in demand for its services in 2013/14. Part of the reason for this is that the Legal Services Directorate, through the Legal Compliance Unit, started performing proactive legal compliance-related services, including the provision of functional legal training opportunities on legislation such as the Promotion of Access to Information Act, Promotion of Administrative Justice Act and the Consumer Protection Act.

The 2013/14 financial year was the second year of the forensic services outsourced contract, and progress has been made with finalising the structure for the unit to move towards a fully “insourced” model by the time of the expiry of the contract in November 2014. As explained on previous occasions, this decision was taken to ensure the capacitation of the unit in light of the serious skills shortage that existed in that unit.

The Legislation Directorate assisted a number of provincial departments with the drafting of principal and subordinate legislation, key among them the Western Cape Community Safety Act which defines and clarifies the province’s policing oversight powers under the constitution. The finalisation of regulations is almost complete which, when passed, will enable the appointment of an Advisory Council for the Minister of Community Safety as well as a Provincial Police Ombud to receive and investigate complaints about policing from members of the public.

The Corporate Communication Directorate retains its main focus on the implementation of the corporate identity and the “Better Together” communication philosophy. During 2013/14, Corporate Communication successfully published six issues of the Better Together Magazine which aims to engage our employees in the vision of the organisation, the values and the brand.

During the 2014/15 financial year, the Corporate Assurance programme will specifically focus on:

  • Further improving the level of risk and control maturity in the provincial government.
  • Improving the level of fraud awareness in the provincial government through proactive fraud awareness campaigns and interventions.
  • Improving the level of compliance of executive and administrative decisions to the constitution and relevant statutes through the appointment of suitably qualified and skilled professional staff to ensure that the Legal Compliance Unit is well-capacitated.

Conclusion

Speaker, this budget, like every department budget already presented is a “budget of opportunity”. It represents the opportunity to improve people’s lives but it is not a guarantee. As I said in my State of the Province Address last month, no government can, by itself, guarantee a better life because meaningful and sustained progress can only be the product of partnerships.

It requires a frugal, hardworking government and people who take responsibility for using opportunities to improve their lives, starting with responsible parenthood. No institution is more crucial for the development of an opportunity society than parenthood.

We need a concerted effort to make a new beginning – starting in our schools, sports clubs and community centres, in our mosques, churches and shuls. Each one of us must ask: “How can I take responsibility? How can I play my part?” It is only when more people use their agency as active citizens that a budget of opportunity from the government will help us to switch off the tap on social ills, rather than just mop up the mess.

Only then will we be truly "Better Together".

Thank you.

Media Enquiries: 
Zakhele Mbhele
Spokesperson for Premier Helen Zille
Tel: 021 483 4584
Cell: 083 600 2349